Tour Itinerary of Silk Road Adventure by Shangri-La Express from Urumqi to Xian

10-Day of Urumqi, Turpan, Dunhuang, Jiayuguan, Tianshui and Xian Tour (CHTGP-SL-04)

Discover the culture of the ancient Silk Road. Enjoy the superior service on board this unique luxury train.
Tipping: A service fee of $120/CNY760 p/p must be paid for personal service on board the train.

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Day 1

Place & Transport: Arrive in Urumqi, Flight not included
Today's Activities: Airport Transfer (Urumqi)

Accommodations: Hoi Tak Hotel (Superior) 

Day 2

Place & Transport: Urumqi
Today's Activities: Heavenly Lake, Boat for Cruise on the Heavenly Lake, Night Activity, International Bazaar, The Xinjiang Museum, Jade Factory
Meals: Breakfast, Chinese Lunch, Chinese Dinner

- Heavenly Lake (1 hour): Heavenly Lake (Tian Hu) is a beautiful blue mountain lake. The blue lake water is finely contrasted with steep forested hills, high meadows and snowy Heavenly Mountain peaks behind. There you can walk, take electric carts, cable cars and a boat cruise on the lake.
- Boat for Cruise on the Heavenly Lake (40 minutes): It is a different way to visit Heavenly Lake by boat.
- Night Activity: After the dinner - Roast Lamb, there will be a local Uygur traditional dance in the vineyard of the hotel.
- International Bazaar: Erdaoqiao of Urumqi,International Bazaar symbolizes the boom of Sinkiang's commerce and tourism. It is the landscape architecture as well as landmark architecture.
- The Xinjiang Museum (2 hours): The Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Museum has collections of silver works of art, stone steles, coins and currency, ceramics, wooden articles, and paintings. One of the highlights is the well-preserved collection of 4,000-year-old corpses, unearthed along the Silk Road. A modern-style building occupying 11,000 square meters, it is located on Xibei Road, 2 km north of People's (Renmin) Park.
- Jade Factory: This factory manufactures and sells many kinds jade articles including Xinjiang Hetian jade, jade jewelry, and Xinjiang jade sculptures.

Accommodations: Hoi Tak Hotel (Superior) 

Day 3

Place & Transport: Urumqi to Turpan to Dunhuang, AirConditionFastBus, connect Train No. Shangri-La Express 02 (Turfan Railway Station - Dunhuang Railway Station) Dep 20:30 - Arr 11:30
Today's Activities: Hotel to bus station Transfer (Urumqi), Express bus station transfer (Turpan), The Ruins of the Ancient City of Jiaohe, The Karez Wells, The Flaming Mountain, Train station Transfer (Turpan)
Meals: Breakfast, Chinese Lunch, Chinese Dinner

- The Ruins of the Ancient City of Jiaohe (2 hours): Jiaohe was built by the ancient Cheshi people in the Qin Dynasty (221–206 BC) and the Han Dynasty (206 BC–220 AD). Located in the Yarnaz Valley, 8 km (5 mi) west of Turpan, it was dug out of and constructed from the yellow-gray parched ground of a narrow 30-meter-high, 1.5-km-long vertical sided island in a river. It is a good vantage point for seeing the surrounding landscape of vineyards and orchards followed by desert and mountains.
- The Karez Wells (40 minutes): This irrigation system of wells connected by underground channels is considered to be one of the three great ancient projects in China. The Karez Wells Folk Garden and Museum is located adjacent to Turpan, 3 kilometers west of the city center. The famous fruit and vineyards of these hot, dry desert communities owe their existence to the Karez wells, ancient underground irrigation channels fed by wells that tap into the snowmelt from surrounding mountains. These systems are still maintained and functioning today. A small museum provides an insight into their intriguing history and construction, and takes you below ground for a first-hand view.
- The Flaming Mountain (30 minutes): The Flaming Mountains, the hottest place in China, overshadow the cradle of the Turpan ancient civilization and oasis agriculture. They provide a spectacular backdrop to the oases and scenery of the Turpan area, and have given rise to many legends and stories, such as the classic "Journey to the West". There are stone reliefs showing the monkey king Sun Wukong, the monk Tang Sen and the pig-man Zhu Bajie and their adventures in an underground cavern built at the foot of the Flaming Mountains to introduce its culture to visitors. The view of the Flaming Mountains depends heavily on the weather condition, especially temperature. The period from August to October is the best time to visit, also during noon time at around 3 o'clock the Flaming Mountains take on the reddest color.

Day 4

Place & Transport: Dunhuang
Today's Activities: Silk Road Lecture, Mogao caves, Dunhuang Night Market
Meals: Breakfast, Chinese Lunch, Chinese Dinner

- Silk Road Lecture: Before arrival in Dunhuang, a professor will give an entertaining and insightful lecture on the history and culture of the Silk Road in the Shangri-la Express bar car. The lecture will last one or two hours and covers the emergence of Buddhism in China and some interesting things about camels.
- Mogao caves (3.5 hours): Tours of Mogao caves are conducted by a guide (English, German, French and Japanese speaking guides are available) who you will share with other tourists. There are about 30 caves open to the public, but usually the tour consists of 10 which provide a representation of the total. The selection is at the discretion of the guide.
- Dunhuang Night Market (40 hours): The night market is an attraction worthwhile for experiencing the local flavor of Dunhuang. It is a great place to buy local souvenirs and dried fruit at the lowest prices (remember not to accept the first price). You can also sample local snacks. The yogurt and nangs (flat bread) are tasty.

Accommodations: Dunhuang Hotel (Superior) 

Day 5

Place & Transport: Dunhuang to Jiayuguan, Train No. Shangri-La Express 02 (Dunhuang Railway Station - Jiayuguan Railway Station) Dep 15:00 - Arr 20:00
Today's Activities: The Singing Sand Mountains and Crescent Spring, Dunhuang Carpets Factory, Hotel to Train station Transfer (Dunhuang)
Meals: Breakfast, Chinese Lunch, Chinese Dinner

- The Singing Sand Mountains and Crescent Spring (2 hours): Crescent Spring (Yueya Quan) is in the Singing Sand Mountains (Mingsha Shan), 6 km (4 mi) south of Dunhuang. It is an oasis in the desert. The spring's name derives from the crescent-shaped lake formed by the spring water between two huge sand dunes. Although the area is very dry, the pool doesn't dry up as one might expect.
- Dunhuang Carpets Factory: The carpets factory sells high-quality hand-knotted carpets, which made of silks.

Accommodations: Holidays Plaza Hotel 

Day 6

Place & Transport: Jiayuguan to Tianshui, Train No. Shangri-La Express 02 (Jiayuguan Railway Station - Tianshui Railway Station) Dep 20:30 - Arr 11:30
Today's Activities: The Jiayuguan Pass(including Great Walls Museum), The Great Wall on the Cliff, Sunlight Cup Factory, Hotel to Train station Transfer (Jiayuguan)
Meals: Breakfast, Chinese Lunch, Chinese Dinner

- The Jiayuguan Pass(including Great Walls Museum) (3.5 hours): The "First Pass Under Heaven" is at the western end of the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) Great Wall. It is the most magnificent and best-preserved pass among over a thousand Great Wall passes. This fort commands an awesome position straddling the Gansu corridor between two mountain ranges. The adjacent Great Wall Museum is full of artifacts tracing the history of the world's longest wall.
- The Great Wall on the Cliff (1.5 hours): This spot is 11 km northwest of Jiayuguan city center, and 7 km north of Jiayu Pass Fort. The Suspended Wall is part of the Great Wall. The wall there was built on a ridge with a gradient of 45 degrees. It is very steep and it looks as if it should fall down from the side of the mountain range, so people refer to this section of the Great Wall as "the Suspended Wall".
- Sunlight Cup Factory: This factory presents the manufacturing process and illustrates the history of Chinese sunlight cups. They are called "sunlight" cups because of their translucency. They are turned from a local rock resembling green marble, which is slightly magnetic. There are many wine “glasses”, Chinese tea cups and other products displayed, which make beautiful and nice-to-use souvenirs.

Day 7

Place & Transport: Tianshui to Xian, Train No. Shangri-La Express 02 (Tianshui Railway Station - Xian Railway Station) Dep 22:30 - Arr 07:00
Today's Activities: The Mount Maiji Grottoes
Meals: Chinese Lunch, Chinese Dinner, Breakfast

- The Mount Maiji Grottoes (3.5 hours): 30 km southeast of Tianshui City, the Mount Maiji Grottoes are one of the Four Great Buddhist Grottoes in China. (The other three are the Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang, Gansu Province, the Longmen Grottoes in Luoyang, Henan Province and the Yungang Grottoes in Datong, Shanxi Province).

Day 8

Place & Transport: Xian
Today's Activities: Ancient City Wall, Fountain Square of Wild Goose Pagoda, Tang Imperial Banquet & Show
Meals: Breakfast, Chinese Lunch, Chinese Dinner

- Ancient City Wall (30 minutes): The walls, ramparts, gates and watchtowers form one of the oldest and most complete city defenses still around. Built in the 13th century on the foundations of the original Tang Forbidden City, it s surrounding the city centre. You can walk or pay extra cost to rent a bike (CNY40 per person), rickshaw (CNY45 per person for 45 minutes) or an electric cart (CNY40 per person) around the full 14km circuit, with great views of the city on either side. If the weather is not good for biking on the city wall, we will substitute a visit to the Bell Tower. Your guide will be very glad to take you the Bell Tower after you have been to look at the city wall.
- Fountain Square of Wild Goose Pagoda (30 minutes): The square to the north of the Wild Goose Pagoda, ranking the biggest in Asia so far, was built in the last 5 years. The musical fountains operate for 20 minutes every 2 hours.It is splendid with music, lights and the background of the ancient Wild Goose Pagoda.
Tang Imperial Banquet & Show: A wonderful performance inspired by court songs, dance and music from the Golden Age of the Tang Dynasty, in a world class theatre restaurant. It's colorful, authentic, beautifully staged, and the costumes are exquisite. Combined with a delicious dinner, the show provides a glimpse into the prosperous period when Chang'An (Xi'an) was the capital of China, and the arts flourished as never before.
Time: 8:30pm

Accommodations: Sheraton Xian Hotel (Superior) 

Day 9

Place & Transport: Xian
Today's Activities: The Terracotta Warriors and Horses, Huaqing Hot Springs
Meals: Breakfast, Chinese Lunch, Chinese Dinner

- The Terracotta Warriors and Horses (2 hours): Discovered accidentally in 1974, this incredible army of over 7000 soldiers, archers, horses and chariots in full battle array has guarded Emperor Qin's tomb since 210BC. Each figure is unique, and the painstaking repair and excavation continues in 3 pits which are protected inside huge hangars. 1.5 hours from Xian, there is also an excellent museum and film about the history of the vaults. Photos (no flash) are allowed. Wear comfortable walking shoes.
- Huaqing Hot Springs (1 hour): At the foot of Mt Lishan between Xi'an and the Terracotta warriors, the early Emperors and their concubines loved it here. Famous for ancient romances, and more recently the Chiang Kai Shek incident, you can enjoy the appealing gardens with their lakes, pools, halls, pavilions and baths, and of course, the hot springs.

Accommodations: Sheraton Xian Hotel (Superior) 

Day 10

Place & Transport: Depart Xian, Flight not included
Today's Activities: Hotel to airport Transfer (Xian)
Meals: Breakfast

Departure Dates and Prices-Top-
Departure Dates Price Per Person Hotel Single Supplement Availability
Sep 13 - Sep 22 $2,499 $550 Book This Tour
  1. Normally hotels allow a maximum of 3 people per room with an extra bed. Some hotels will allow three adults and a small child.
  2. Tour price is for reference, please enquire for a detailed quotation.
  3. Prices are shown in US dollars per person are indicative prices only. The tour price will vary as the exchange rates changes. Click here to change prices to your Currency


The quotation price is based on 4 people in one room. Single Occupancy is only for hotels. Single Occupancy on train is on request.
Tipping: A service fee of $120/CNY760 p/p must be paid for personal service on board the train. The service fee should be paid to the guide at the commencement of the trip. The guide will ensure that the staff on board the train receive are paid.


Price Inclusions and Exclusions

Price Inclusions:

  • Entrance Fees:
    To scenic spots as listed in the itinerary.
  • Meals:
    All meals as specified in the itinerary.
    If the restaurant indicated is not available on the day, your guide will arrange another restaurant from our list of approved restaurants. Breakfast is usually a western style buffet. We endeavor to ensure that a choice of western and Chinese breakfasts is supplied, however there may be occasions when only a Chinese breakfast is available in some remote locations.
  • Transfers:
    Transfers between airports, hotels and scenic spots while sightseeing in Urumqi, Turpan, Dunhuang, Jiayuguan, Tianshui, Xian by shared coach with a driver and English-speaking guide (as listed above). Your comfort is our priority! Click here to get a description of the vehicles that we use for our tours.
  • Guide:
    As outlined in the itinerary an English-speaking guide and driver will be provided in each city, who will remain with you throughout your time in that city. A new guide and a new driver will meet you at each city on your tour, to provide you with the best local knowledge available.
  • Hotels:
    Hotel fees are based on two people sharing one room with twin beds.
    All hotels as listed in the above itinerary serve daily western or Chinese breakfast. All rooms are air-conditioned with private facilities unless specified.
  • Transportation:
    Turpan To Urumqi Transfer via: Bus, (Our arrangements)
    Turfan To Dunhuang Transfer via: Train, Shangri-La Express 02 (Our arrangements)
    Dunhuang To Jiayuguan Transfer via: Train, Shangri-La Express 02 (Our arrangements)
    Jiayuguan To Tianshui Transfer via: Train, Shangri-La Express 02 (Our arrangements)
    Tianshui To Xian Transfer via: Train, Shangri-La Express 02 (Our arrangements)

  • Service Charge & Government Taxes:
  • Insurance
    The insurance is China Life Tourist Accident/Casualty Insurance.
    Click here to learn more about the insurance coverage and the sum insured.
  • Luggage Transfers:
    Between airports/railway stations and hotels.
  • Arrangements:
    The tour cost includes planning, handling, operational and communication charges.

Price Exclusions:

  • International Airfare or Train Tickets to enter or leave China.
    USA-CHINA/CHINA-USA: China Highlights has negotiated special discount fares (restrictions apply) for selected flights operated by Air China from major US and China gateways. We are able to offer these special deals to confirmed customers. Discount US to China Flights
  • China Entry Visa Fees.
  • Excess Baggage Charges.
    Passengers holding an adult fare or half fare ticket are entitled to a free baggage allowance of 20kg, for economy class. Total weight of carry on baggage for each passenger may not exceed 5kg. The size may not exceed 20x40x 55cm. More
  • Personal Expenses:
    Expenses of a purely personal nature such as laundry, drinks, fax, telephone calls, optional activities, sightseeing or meals which are not included in the tour itinerary.
  • Meals:
    Any meals which are not specified in the tour itinerary.
  • Single Room Supplement.
Customers' Reviews

It is a great idea to get the services from China Highlights since China is a large country and is kind of difficult to do all traveling by yourself. Read more

Ivan Mar. 24, 2010

Our guides were very professional, flexible and we felt comfortable with all of them. Read more

James Mar. 23, 2010

The tour organisation was well done. Thanks for a great tour.  Read more

Robert Mar. 19, 2010

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